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Alan Clarke is never one to shy away from the difficult or different, and this was no exception.  OK.... Aspects works better in an intimate atmosphere, however, the number of scene changes required were many, and these were accomplished with military precision by a well-drilled stage crew, and the cast where necessary.  So all respect to you Alan, for your insight and planning, as what could have been a car crash was in fact a grand prix!!

That said, there were a few things I would have changed, but on the whole it worked well, and the technical side of the production was also well executed.

Musically Sarah Farrar must have had a very hard job as it is a difficult sing, the fact that she and Clare Hood on the second keyboard, had to play throughout,  creating moods and sounds, which were all an excellent background, but never too intrusive, was amazing.

There were some good performances, despite the fact there were very few of the cast who are strong singers, this was indeed a marathon for them – but I’m sure they felt a real sense of satisfaction at having mastered this work – which was typical of Lloyd-Webber, except for the fact that there is some lovely music, but none of it seemed to reach a conclusion or climax – one of my main criticisms of this show – I was longing for just one of the numbers to be a real stand out whizz, but I should know by now that this isn’t what Aspects is about.

The cast were well-chosen – Jaymes Sygrove in a very different part for him, and one which on the whole he carried off well. I did feel that he didn’t age as much as he should have, but this was not too evident, as the timelines of the scenes were not altogether clear, and I felt that Alex would perhaps have had a slightly different edge to him between the 17 year old and his adult self.  Having said that he maintained a good level of musicality throughout.

Jenna Ryder-Oliver gave a fine performance as Rose, a complex lady in some respects, but naive in others, and the range of notes and emotions Jenna had to attain were all accomplished well, with plenty of expressive contrasts.  I liked her relationships with the men of the piece.  However, I didn’t like her wig, it was just a little too wig-like and was very untidy.

Stuart Farrar was a surprise as George, again a difficult sing – but Stuart attacked it with expression and understanding.  I thought Anna Carter-Brown as Giulietta gave a very emotive performance, with great depth and understanding, and she looked great – her costumes put everyone else’s to shame, except surprisingly the ladies of the ensemble, Megan Clarke, Emily Giddins, Helen Maile and Stephanie Overington – who all looked very elegant and smart, and I loved the way they looked and sang.  Katy Elliott choreographed some simple but suitable moments.

Frances Hall gave a sympathetic performance as Elizabeth, and the short pieces she sang were very rich in tone and well-projected.

Paul Rogers, in another different role for him as Rose’s manager, coped well with the part and the concept of only singing never speaking!  He was perhaps a little too soft for me, both in voice level and portrayal, but he added much to the dimension of the piece with his understanding of Rose and also of the role.

Reece Lowens played several of the smaller parts, but made an impression in his demeanour, and what he did sing was very well-projected and clear.  I was also impressed with newcomer Joe Lyons, who again accomplished several smaller parts, but did them well, and looked very suave and sophisticated.

Charlotte Tabert and Allanah Rogers as Jenny, were both utterly charming in looks and in what they did with the part, lovely to see Charlotte on stage, and Allanah never fails to give a good performance.  They both had a lightness of touch for the younger girl they were playing, and their voices were both sweet and true.  Well done girls.

Alan Clarke took a very small part, but he has a presence on stage that makes him difficult to ignore! – with Luke Howard taking the part of Jerome, a shame we didn’t see more of Luke as again, he brings a good persona to his parts.

So – in conclusion, a show I do not really like, but one which I could appreciate for the performances and technical precision, giving us a good evening’s entertainment, even though I know some people in the audience got a little lost because of unclear timelines.  Well done to all the cast.


ASPECTS OF LOVE” date: 25th July 2014

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Directed by: Alan Clarke MD: Sarah Farrar

Choreographer: Katy Elliott


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